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Thursday, May 15, 2008

Expect the Unexpected

Don't you love it when a bloom opens up and totally surprises you? Last fall my friend Kim and I went on a plant shopping spree out on eastern Long Island. Prices were marked down and we each bought a few new things.

I've loved my standard blue Centaurea montana so when I saw a tag for a white one I had to give it a try. This flower opened up earlier this week and I'm just blown away by the beauty of the bloom. I never expected the lavender/blue center.

Many years ago I purchased a Verbascum. I promptly planted it in the wrong spot, right in the middle of one of my daylily borders. Verbascum are very short lived, in our area they often don't come back at all.

This one plant though surprises me every year suddenly popping up through the daylily foliage and blooming it's heart out.

Tradescantia 'Hawaiian Punch' is always another surprise. This is one of those Tradescantia's that run underground but since I have it in a really tough location, I welcome any running. No matter how much I think I'm prepared for this color it always catches me by surprise. What a perfect name.

Another surprise plant that pops up here and there is this woodland Geranium. It would probably be much more prolific if I had planted in my rich soil, water enhanced shade bed in the back but it's out front in the dry, root bound shade bed instead. I never know where it will pop up and I love it's simple and gentle presence.

Finally, look what came yesterday! Six yards of the most wonderful, black, crumbly, triple sifted compost blended with manure. Whooeee, mom and I moved as much as we could without totally straining our bodies. I know what I'll be doing for the next week now.

Today Kim and I are off again. Eastern Long Island is still quite rural, filled with charming hamlets, farms and fantastic perennial nurseries. I used to make trips often, not concerned with the hour long drive but with the high price of gas now, this is the first trip of the season. We hope to hit Talmage Farms at Agway and The Peconic River Herb Farm. Both are known for having wide selections of perennials and I've got my hopes set on more white Centaurea and a few pots of all gold Hakone grass.

See ya!


Helen said...

I envy that compost

Sylvia said...

I also love the white Centaurea, I don't have any in my garden so I will be looking out for some and some blue ones! I have the same or similar wild geranium and though I like them, it would take over given half the chance, so out it has to go.

Best wishes Sylvia (England)

Amy said...

I've only seen the blue perennial bachelor buttons, love the lavendar/white flowers on yours! That huge pile of sifted compost is a bit of gardener's heaven. Your plants are going to love you for it!

garden girl said...

Melanie, that's a gorgeous centaurea.

I hope you have a wonderful time on your shopping adventure!

Nancy J. Bond said...

I agree with Helen...I have soil envy, too. :) Your blooms are all beautiful!

Katarina i Kullavik said...

I could do with a load of compost like that!
- I too, fell in love with your white Centaurea. Stunningly beautiful!

Gail said...

Wonderful, wonderful! The Verbascum is perfect and I shall look for that delicious color. Isn't the Geranium a cutie...I love it but can't seem to keep it happy, I suspect not enough moisture and your comments bear that out...

Let's not talk about the soil envy I am experiencing right this minute;-)

Thanks, Melanie for a good read and some good ideas!


leedra said...

Since you named most of the photos but not the 3rd one, thought maybe you do not know the name. It is a Spiderwort. When I got my first one I thought it was some sort of daylily until it bloomed the first time. This year mine is about 2 feet across and covered in blooms.

Cinj said...

I just love the wandering plants who pop up in all the right places.

I don't envy all of the work of moving that compost, but I'm sure your plants will be singing praises when they get it!

Anna said...

I've never heard of triple sifted manure. Where are you putting it? I hope you find your flower today and I'm jealous that you are out and about in such pretty countryside. Did you find a fun place to eat?

Matt and Jen said...

I'm in love with that Centaurea montana!!! -Jen :)

Melanie said...

Helen, I know exactly what you mean!

Sylvia, you probably have enough moisture for that woodland Geranium. I've put several plants that are super prolific in other areas into my dry shade bed and they behave wonderfully because in actuality they are struggling there.

Amy, that compost is going to be a life saver for many of my plants. After 5 years of plant sales my soil was totally depleted in some spots.

Linda, the shopping adventure was a blast. We still had room in the car for more plants but that's ok, the company was perfect and that's what counts.

Thanks Nancy!

Katarina, I need to find more of that Centaurea because I'm way to impatient for this one to increase.

Gail, yup, back to the moisture issue. Do you make lots of leaf mulch to retain any moisture?

Leedra, thanks for the note on the spiderwort. That's what we call it here too but I try to use the botanical names on my blog so gardeners around the world can recognize the plant names.

Cinj, you hit the nail on the head. I was so happy to get that compost but I didn't give much thought to how much work it is going to be to spread it all over!

Anna, I never had sifted compost before but what a difference. My other compost always came with sticks and stones and sometimes pieces of garbage in it. After the first garden center we stopped at a sandwich shop (Deli) and bought lunch. We brought it to the second nursery that is along a wonderful river and sat outside and had a wonderful setting for our alfresco lunch.

Jen, I know, I love it too!

Robin's Nesting Place said...

I'll have to do some checking around here on sifted compost. The three yards I got a few weeks ago had so many large, hard clumps, it was not good and didn't have an earthy smell at all. I'm not certain it was really compost.